The Emerald Rider - Dragoneer Saga IV
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(3 Chapter Preview)
© 2013 Michael Robb Mathias Jr.
Jenka kissed Zahrellion deeply. She was pressing herself against him, as if she could make them melt together in the moment. Jenka didn’t mind. He needed this so badly he ached for her. She looked up at him and he took in the way the surreal, cloud-formed room swirled in a perfect cube around them. The soft illumination from his eyes tinted her pale complexion a bright shade of green. Even in this moment of longing, it amazed him that he saw no hint of the tattoos that once marked her face. Her beauty made his heart swell, and in her lavender orbs, he saw the warmest, most comfortable sort of love.
A trace of worry passed across her brow. She lowered her eyes and buried her head in his chest. “You don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl.” She took a deep breath and hugged him even tighter. “You don’t even know.”
“Then tell me,” he whispered, noticing the darker tint to the clouds churning around them. A flicker of lightning came from a great distance, but the thunder that followed was a long low grumble that seemed to grow nearer as it lingered.
She squeezed him and let out a long regretful sigh. “I can’t Jenka.” The warmth of her touch was fading. “This is just a dream.”
Jenka woke as the first fat drops of rain splattered across his windblown face. He wasn’t cold, but it was cool around them. He wasn’t sure where he was, but he knew he was on Jade’s back. The growing green dragon was winging them across an expanse of untended flatland. The sun was low, and they were flying toward a coppery sunset that revealed the lacy edge of the continent they’d just crossed.
A grumbling roar, from not so far away, caught Jenka’s attention, and he looked up to see the yellowed underbelly of a massive red dragon above him. As his heart slowed back down, it all came back to him.
It was Crimzon, and they needed rest. One of the fire drake’s wings had been ruined in a battle with a swarm of the savage Sarax beasts. Nothing more than the Dour-fortified spell Rikky Camille had placed on the wing was keeping the old dragon aloft. As far as any of them knew, Rikky’s spell could give way at any moment, and he wasn’t anywhere near to recast it.
The truth be told, Jenka wasn’t sure why it had lasted this long.
The old red had led Jenka and his dragon, Jade, over the mountains of southern Kar, a place Crimzon said he’d reigned over for half a hundred years. By the size of the hoard piled in the cavern they’d last slept in, Jenka couldn’t doubt it. That was several days ago. Now they needed to recoup before crossing another expanse, the last of their long journey.
Out in the sea before them was their destination. In that not-so-distant land, a lifetime ago, Crimzon’s rider, Clover, was spelled to stone as bait for a trap. The wizard Xaffer believed that dragons could turn into humans and walk among them. He wanted to make a potion so that he could reverse the casting and spell himself into a dragon. He believed he needed the essence of one of these transformed dragons to achieve his end.
Claiming to have knowledge of how to defeat the terrible shark-mawed creatures that were popping up across the land in those days, he lured Crimzon and Clover to his measly temple, petrified Clover, and then put her solid form in a place no dragon could fit into.
Xaffer had hoped Crimzon would turn himself into a man and come get her. Crimzon, who was even then so wing-wounded he could barely fly, and bound by love for his rider’s wishes, made a bargain with the dwarves and over the course of a decade used their tunnels to traverse the world. Clover had committed Crimzon to battle the Confliction, and more so to prepare the Dragoneers to finish it.
They’d won that war.
Now, Crimzon believed that Jenka, in his Dour-saturated state, could pass the wizard’s wards and release Clover, especially since Jenka shared a familial bond with Jade. Jenka was determined to give it his all, even though he now knew Crimzon had tricked him. In exchange for summoning the elementals against the alien in the Great Confliction, the old wyrm had made him swear to do this. Jenka, though, knew Crimzon would have called the elementals even had he not sworn. The old dragon had pledged his whole might to that battle long before Jenka or any of the other Dragoneers were born, though, so the subterfuge was forgivable.